pri·​or·​i·​ty | \ prī-ˈȯr-ə-tē How to pronounce priority (audio) , -ˈär-\
plural priorities

Definition of priority

1a(1) : the quality or state of being prior
(2) : precedence in date or position of publication used of taxa
b(1) : superiority in rank, position, or privilege
(2) : legal precedence in exercise of rights over the same subject matter
2 : a preferential rating especially : one that allocates rights to goods and services usually in limited supply that project has top priority
3 : something given or meriting attention before competing alternatives

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for priority


precedence, right-of-way

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of priority in a Sentence

Reorganizing the sales force will be a top priority for the new president. Getting the work done on time is a priority for me. She decided to go to the party instead of studying? Where are her priorities? I know you want to buy a new stereo, but right now, saving for college has to take priority.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The priority for policy makers is to figure out how that can be achieved—at scale. The Economist, "The benefits of pre-schooling may extend for generations," 11 June 2019 Homebody in Ohio Dear Homebody: Start making it a priority to get out of your parents’ house and meet new people. Abigail Van Buren, Houston Chronicle, "Getting out is best first step for introvert seeking friends," 8 June 2019 Trump is the ancient party hack telling his comrades to knuckle down and remember that the priority is not to let the people know the truth. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Chernobyl: Devastating Indictment of Socialism, Not Trumpism," 5 June 2019 But the offseason priority has to be to improve the team’s defensive group. Kevin Allen, USA TODAY, "Five helpful hints for would-be NHL traders during the Stanley Cup Final," 4 June 2019 Self-care might be an overused buzzword at times, but the notion of making it a priority to take care of yourself is inarguably valid. Suzanne Zuppello, SELF, "Women With Triple Negative Breast Cancer Share Their Tips for Taking Care of Themselves," 31 May 2019 But Gideon always makes it a priority to know who's who on her projects. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, ""The Society" Star Gideon Adlon on Why She Fell in Love with the Creepy Series," 15 May 2019 Our collective attention to conscious consumption has meant that more brands are making it a priority to produce within the U.S. (or calling attention to it if it was already being done). Jessica Cumberbatch Anderson, Marie Claire, "The Do's and Don't's of a Closet Refresh," 6 May 2019 With the task of merging two units into one, finding an architectural rhythm was the first priority. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Inside an Unconventionally Glam Family Home in Chicago’s Historic Palmolive Building," 30 Apr. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'priority.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of priority

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about priority

Statistics for priority

Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for priority

The first known use of priority was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for priority



English Language Learners Definition of priority

: something that is more important than other things and that needs to be done or dealt with first
US : the things that someone cares about and thinks are important
: the condition of being more important than something or someone else and therefore coming or being dealt with first


pri·​or·​i·​ty | \ prī-ˈȯr-ə-tē How to pronounce priority (audio) \
plural priorities

Kids Definition of priority

: a condition of being more important than other things


pri·​or·​i·​ty | \ prī-ˈȯr-ə-tē How to pronounce priority (audio) \
plural priorities

Legal Definition of priority

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: precedence in exercise of rights in the same subject matter secured interests have priority over unsecured ones



Legal Definition of priority (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : having precedence over another in the exercise of rights in the same subject matter a priority creditor a priority claim
2 : of or relating to priority a priority contest

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on priority

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with priority

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for priority

Spanish Central: Translation of priority

Nglish: Translation of priority for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of priority for Arabic Speakers

Comments on priority

What made you want to look up priority? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to take the place or position of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!